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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 21 November 2018

UAE Portrait of a Nation: The news presenter who rose to a challenge

Mr Al Khatip, who was born in Dubai but raised in Fujairah, says his parents were the real force behind his success.
Mohammed Al Khatip says his dream is to present an international programme on television. Courtesy Mohammed Al Khatip
Mohammed Al Khatip says his dream is to present an international programme on television. Courtesy Mohammed Al Khatip

Al Khatip is today one of the familiar faces on UAE’s news television. He credits his success to an incident from his school days.

DUBAI // When Mohammed Al Khatip was in his final year at school, a teacher mocked him in front of his classmates, questioning whether he could manage to pass high school.

Being mocked and challenged, the young Emirati, now 40, turned into a bookworm to finish school and became a prominent UAE news presenter.

“I wasn’t a lazy student,” Al Khatip says. “I just had a friend in school who was one year behind, and I wanted to fail so we could be together in our last year.”

His father supported him, bought him books and helped him to sharpen his writing skills. When he passed school, he wanted to work, but his mother refused.

She pushed her son to attend Sharjah University, where, in 2001, he was among the first to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in social communications for radio and television.

Al Khatip, who was born in Dubai but raised in Fujairah, says his parents were the real force behind his success.

“My father would always get me newspapers and help me to improve my writing skills,” he says. “My mother was the reason behind me going to university when I wanted to stop and just take on a job.”

He started his career as a radio news presenter at Dubai FM. Two years later he joined Dubai Television as a news presenter. The following year, he helped to launch the UAE news segment on the channel, in which he presents news reports from across the country.

“My title is reporter, editor and presenter, and I’m the only one holding three titles because I like to do the work myself,” the father of three said.

“I don’t wait for the news to come to me. I chase it, write it up, then present it.”

He hopes to inform the public about how rewarding it is to invest in the greater good.

“When I report crimes or any other violations, I hope it would provoke the viewers into reaching a level of self-control that would enable them to do good instead of bad.”

In 2007 and 2009 Al Khatip won Dubai Government Excellence Programme awards.

He received the creative employee award in 2010 from Dubai Media and has more than 300 certificates of appreciation from government authorities.

But his dream, he says, is to scale newer heights.

“I wish one day I will have an international programme that will reach to the ears and eyes of millions of people,” he says.

“I want to spread a message of tolerance and speak of the true beautiful culture of the UAE, its people and its religion, its land that holds close, in harmony, hundreds of different ethnicities.”

To chase this dream, he started his YouTube channel, at youtube.com/user/mralkhatip, in 2008, posting news reports, and has nearly 26,000 subscribers.

Al Khatip’s first book, What Happens Behind the Scenes, sold out in the first week of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair last year. A second edition is in the works.

“I am taking baby steps but I have faith that some day I will be able to represent the UAE honourably,” he says

salamir@thenational.ae